Can You Read A Book In A Browser?

Can You Read A Book In A Browser?

I am quite possibly the last person who should be writing about higher education, but I find the ProfHacker blog on The Chronicle of Higher Education really interesting. They write about productivity and technology from a different angle, which I like. It doesn’t hurt that most of the writers are professors, associate professors, or assistant professors which means they are vary vary smrt.

Kathleen Fitzpatrick,professor of Media Studies at Pomona College, recently wrote an interesting post about the Books in Browsers conference. The question posed was: is it possible to deliver books through open platforms (ie a browser) instead of closed devices (ie a Kindle).

Books-in-browsers present some significant advantages to readers in terms of portability and accessibility of content, as Brewster Kahle has explored. Delivering content via the browser also presents advantages for publishers, book sellers, and libraries, all of whom have an interest in balancing wide distribution with certain kinds of use restrictions.

The post gave some great examples of works in progress, including the Internet Archive Open Library (how cool is that embeddable reader?) and 20 Things I Learned About Browsers & The Web.

The comment thread is also worth a read so I recommend checking out both the post and the comments.

How about you, would you read books in a browser, assuming they nail the experience?

About the Author

Brooks Duncan helps individuals and small businesses go paperless. He's been an accountant, a software developer, a manager in a very large corporation, and has run DocumentSnap since 2008. You can find Brooks on Twitter at @documentsnap or @brooksduncan. Thanks for stopping by.

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Michelle Muto - January 21, 2011 Reply

I might, but I think reading books is more of a portable experience. With an eReader or physical book, I can walk about the house or take the device/book anywhere. A laptop or desktop doesn't lend itself to that very well.
But, the publishing world is certainly changing! It'll be quite interesting to see where it goes. EBooks are certainly here to stay.
You can get the Kindle app for your Windows or Mac. I don't know of many people who use it, though.

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